There is something positive to be said about an unconventional in heavy metal. Younger Dryas, the first EP from US based black metal act Dweller in the Valley, starts with singing bowls and throat singing and ends with the same thing. What follows between is a highly responsive style of mid fi black metal whose flirtation heavy grooves, slow tempo death, and a hardcore extended family makes the mix entirely unique but nowhere near out of place. In a style marked with dark ruminations and tormented aesthetics, Dweller in the Valley has found something equally as dark but far from the frostbitten conventions of the past.
Dweller in the Valley embraces obscurity with their name in reference to the exterminated race of the Amalekites people and an album name in reference to a prehistoric period of climate freeze. While a simple combination of goat, throne, lord, and fog could have worked, Dweller in the Valley takes its time to customize a personality with references hidden deep within the back portions of libraries. The band’s personality is further explored with unconventional, yet not impossible, shifts in music. Song like “The Shedding” and “Serpent Bearer” see a mid track break into the underbelly of death/doom which is a surprising and thrilling change of pace. “The Mire” sees a crusted groove which further expands the band’s list of influences. For as many turns as this EP takes, all of it is still strung together by brilliant speed and clear production which makes Younger Dryas something to marvel — or at least cradle in awe.
I finally figured it out. Dweller in the Valley wants to be a black/death/doom act with a shroud of biblical history and possibly ecological disasters. Younger Dryas is first steps to a culture of post civilized marauders who worship unknown abyssal deities in service of environmental shifts. While this sounds silly, it may not be out of the realm of possibility. The album cover for Younger Dryas is also not entirely unique to black, death, or doom metal, yet the grey scaled cattle skull is not something which is apart of any traditional convention. It all lies on the outside of known and expected. Dweller in the Valley is apart of something else which may or may not be defined and this band has crafted something which is apart of a place where ancient people run and lick blood, dance around fires, and pray to the the dark for the deep freeze.